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Conductinganeffectivebrandaudit
The key elements on an effective brand audit.
The brand audit provides a comprehensive overview of the health of a given brand. It is based on
the point of view that successful brands are built from the inside out. While conventional branding
research look mostly at one audience consumers a complete brand audit assesses relationships
with all of the important stakeholders of the brand, including both internal and external audiences.
Internal Audiences

Management
Employees
Sales force or sales channel

External Audiences

Current customers
Prospective customers
Past customers
Trade press
Consumer press
Business press
Industry and financial analysts
Shareholders and investors
Business and community leaders
Influencers and government regulators
The brand audit involves the use of both secondary and primary research, and uses both qualitative
and quantitative research methodologies, including interviews and online surveys.
The brand audit helps companies build their brand from the inside out.

StepOne:SecondaryResearch
The first step is collecting all available information, research and intelligence from existing secondary
sources.
Information Available from the Client

Current business plan


Current advertising or marketing plan
Current public relations or public affairs plan
Annual reports from past three years
Marketing research from past three years
Press releases from past three years
Advertising or other marketing communications from past three years
Biographies and background of key executives
Press kit
Sales literature (corporate and major divisions)

Information Available from Secondary Sources

Company history
Brands and product lines
Recent and historical financial performance
Sales history
Share of market
Share of voice
Direct and indirect competition
Competitive advertising
Competitive spending
Competitive strengths and weaknesses

StepTwo:TheViewfromtheInsideOut
Many brands fail to reach their full potential because they are not fully understood or supported by
important internal audiences. So before undertaking any outside marketing research with
consumers, its critical to first look at the brand from the inside out.
The internal portion of the brand audit is accomplished by interviewing or surveying key internal
constituencies: executives, managers, general employees, and sales or sales channel
personnel. This investigation should include the following areas:
Company
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6.

How would you describe the company's mission?


How do your customers perceive you?
How do you want your customers to perceive you?
What makes the company/product/service truly different or unique?
What are your primary business objectives?
What are the company/product/service's strengths and weaknesses, both real and
perceived?
7.
What are the important opportunities for the company in the future?
8.
What are the threats?

9.

How has the company been performing financially?

Products or Services
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What are the important characteristics of your products or services?


What are the key benefits of your products or services (rational, sensory and emotional)?
What are the perceived disadvantages of your products or services?
How does your pricing compare with competitors?
What new products or services are planned for the immediate future?

Focus
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2.

Has the company clearly identified its core competencies?


Based on its core competencies, does the company have a clearly defined, differentiating
business focus?
3.
Does the companys business focus clearly differentiate it from the competition?
Differentiation
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2.

Does the brand focus on a primary point of differentiation?


Is the brands point of differentiation clearly communicated in marketing programs and
materials?
3.
Is the brands point of differentiation understood by its purchasers?
4.
Do employees understand how their personal performance supports the brands point of
differentiation?
Brand Identity
1.
2.
3.

Do key company personnel understand the concept of branding?


Has the company identified the many points of contact people have with the brand?
Does the brand have a clear identity among its current and prospective buyers?

Customer Information
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9.

Who are the basic audiences you want to reach with your marketing efforts?
What is the prospects experience with and attitudes toward the product category?
What is the prospects experience with your product or service in particular?
What factors influence the purchase of your products or services?
What are the key demographic characteristics of purchasers of the brand?
What are the key values, attitude, and lifestyle characteristics of users of the brand?
Have you segmented customers into different groups that share similar characteristics?
What other brands do consumers use or consider using in the category?
Does the company have a clear understanding of which brand benefits are most important to
customers?
10.
To what extent does the brand meet the expectations of current and prospective customers?
11.
How, and how often, is the brand used?
12.
How much does the brand inspire loyalty and drive repeat purchase?

Competition
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4.

Who are the brands direct and indirect competitors?


What are the marketing strategies employed by the key competitors?
What is your position in terms of market share?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of your chief competitors?

Trends
1.
2.

What is the outlook for growth in the brands primary markets?


What are the potential threats or opportunities for the brand based on possible changes in
the economy, changing demographics, technology, or new regulation?

Customer Service
1.

How do customers rate the brand or company in the area of customer service?

Sales
1.
2.

What are your current sales and how does that compare to past years?
What kind of sales support or marketing materials are provided to the sales team or
channel?
3.
To what extent does the sales channel understand the way the company is attempting to
position and sell the brand?
Marketing
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6.
7.

How would you describe the company's marketing approach?


What are your current marketing objectives?
What is currently the company's biggest sales or marketing problem?
What market segments do you sell to (by product, demographics, geography, etc.)?
Beyond sales, does the company have other key marketing objectives for the brand?
Are the brands marketing objectives supported by well defined strategies and tactics?
Do company managers, employees, and departments understand their respective roles in
accomplishing the brands marketing objectives?

Distribution
1.
2.

What are your channels of distribution?


What kinds of sales aids are used by the company?

Marketing Communications
1.
2.

What job should marketing perform for the company?


How should the marketing program be measured (sales, leads, awareness, attitudes,
preference)?
3.
How are marketing budgets set?

Research
1.
2.

Do you have any past or current research studies?


What information gaps do you currently have that research could help fill?

Measures of Success
1.
2.

How does the company measure success?


How is marketing success measured? (Sales leads, sales increase, market share,
awareness, etc.)

HowDoestheCompanyCommunicateWithItsAudiences?
Communicating With Customers

Current customers
Lost customers
Loyal customers
Prospective customers

Communicating With Editors

Local business press


National business press
Financial press
Trade press

Communicating With the Financial Community

Shareholders
Individual investors
Institutional investors
Analysts

Communicating With Employees

Management
Employees
Labor unions
Potential employees

Communicating With Opinion Leaders

Business leaders
Civic leaders
Pressure groups

Communicating With Business Partners

Suppliers
Contractors and subcontractors
Acquisition candidates

Communicating With Local Communities

Business associations
Civic organizations

Communicating With Regulators

Local
State
Federal

Communicating With Elected Officials

City mayors and councils


County mayors, councils, and commissions
State executive and legislative leaders
State regulatory officials
Federal legislators
Federal regulatory officials

StepThree:TheViewfromtheOutsideIn
Getting the view from the outside in requires surveying current and prospective customers on the
following topics:
Brand Awareness

Unaided awareness of the brand


Aided awareness of the brand

Brand Benefits

Perceived functional attributes of the brand


Perceived rational benefits of the brand
Perceived emotional benefits of the brand
How the brand compares to the ideal attributes in the category

Brand Positioning

How customers see the brand as different from other brands

Brand Quality

Perceived quality of the brand vs. other brands


Perceived quality of customer service vs. other brands

Brand Preference

Where the brand ranks in customers considered set (consider, reject, or neutral)
Which brands in the category are preferred and why

Brand Usage

Intent to use our brand vs. other brands

Brand Loyalty

Exclusive use of the brand (vs. other brands)


Customers referring or recommending the brand to others

Brand Touch Points

Extent to which the brand is perceived consistently in advertising and other marketing
communications
Extent to which brand messages are consistent with customers experience of dealing with
the company (customer service, etc.)

Brand Users

Demographics (age, income, education, geography, etc.)


Psychographics (values, beliefs, etc.
Ways of segmenting current and potential markets

StepFour:WrittenBrandAnalysis
The brand audit process concludes with the development of a written summary of the findings,
including an overview of the environment, the category, the company, the brand, and the
competition.
The Environment
A review of industry trends, regulatory challenges, and the general health and sustainability of the
market in which the brand competes.
The Category
An overview of the broad category represented by the brand, including an assessment of where the
brand fits in terms of awareness, preference, and usage.

The Brand
An assessment of the current state of the brand, its development, market penetration, identifying
characteristics, and benefits to the consumer.
The Consumer
An analysis of current and potential customers, buying habits, loyalty, wants, needs, and
motivations.
The Competition
A definition of direct as well as indirect competition, including relative share of voice, share of
market, and competitive strengths and weaknesses.

BenefitsoftheBrandAudit
Every company can derive important benefits from taking a holistic look at the health and strength of
their brand from the inside and the outside including:
Clearer focus and vision. Clarify the focus and vision of the brand from both an internal and
external perspective.
Stronger competitive advantage. Better define the brands competitive advantages and points of
difference.
Deeper customer understanding. Improve the organizations understanding of awareness,
attitudes, and behavior of current and prospective patients and caregivers.
Communication with all audiences. Develop programs and approaches to communicate
effectively with all important audiences of the brand, not just customers
More consistent messaging. Send a consistent message about the brand in all forms of marketing
communications.
More unified brand identification. Develop a more clearly defined brand identity and enforce
compliance among the brands operating divisions. Improved collaboration among business units.
Organize the operations and marketing units of the company to work more collaboratively on
marketing and branding initiatives. Better internal communication. Improve the companys ability to
keep executives and employees informed about the importance and activities of the brand.
Improved internal alignment. Provide training and encourage internal behaviors that are consistent
with what the brand is trying to accomplish. More marketing accountability. Realistically define and
prioritize marketing objectives and measure their accomplishment using a new set of metrics.